Residents of the United Kingdom now have something to cheer about, especially if they love online gambling. The recent amendments made to the gambling regulations by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) will allow people to gamble away their bitcoins on platforms licensed in their own country.
The changes made by the UKGC to License condition 5.1.1 of the “License Conditions and Codes of Practice” includes digital currencies to the list of cash equivalents. Other conventional cash equivalents, according to the document include banker’s drafts, cheques, debit and credit cards. These changes are expected to come into effect later this year, by October 31, 2016.
The amendments made to online gambling licensing requirements means a lot to not just the digital currency ecosystem, but to players as well. Bitcoin, the popular digital currency, has many advantages over the traditional currency that makes it ideal for online gaming and gambling. Unlike traditional currency, digital currencies can be easily transferred, allowing for instant deposits and withdrawals at online casinos. This will not only encourage gamblers to spend more on these platforms, but will also offer them a certain degree of protection.
According to the UKGC regulations, players are eligible for protection only on listed sites that are approved by the commission. Most of the online Bitcoin casino platforms catering to the market are currently licensed in Curacao, depriving users of any protection offered by their country’s gaming commission or similar regulatory body.
The inclusion of Bitcoin as an alternative to cash (cash equivalent) by the UKGC also serves as an acknowledgment of Bitcoin’s status as a financial instrument by the regulatory body. While the new UKGC rules will be applicable only to the online casino platforms catering to the UK market, it may encourage both new and existing businesses to obtain a license from the UKGC to accept Bitcoin wagers from their users. As of June 2016, UKGC has issued over 719 online casino licenses to over 427 online casino operators. It may soon change as Bitcoin-only online casinos currently licensed in Curacao can soon migrate to the UK, expanding their operations.
Some of the other territories pursuing the same angle includes the Republic of Malta and Isle of Man.